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Wounded bird leads would-be helpers on wild goose chase

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Attempts continued Tuesday to capture this wounded goose at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas.
(L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation)

To help a wild goose at a park in San Dimas shot with an arrow, a small army of people have been carefully recruited to capture it.

They have so far whiffed in all their efforts. And part of the challenge, county officials said Tuesday, is that the bird has surprisingly quick reflexes for an animal speared, “Game of Thrones” style, by an arrow.

“The goose, because it is fully functional, keeps flying away when they get close to it,” said Terry Kanakri, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.

The goose’s wariness is understandable. For one thing, it is a wild animal, among hundreds of geese in Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. Then there’s the indisputable fact that a human shot it with an arrow.

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The arrow lodged into the bird’s shoulder and neck tissue at a 45-degree angle. The feathered part of the arrow drops down from the bird’s left side. The tipped portion protrudes upward from the other side.

The arrow makes the goose easy to spot when it is in or near the 250-acre reservoir but harder to find within the park’s 1,200 acres.

The bird has done remarkably well, all things considered, since a park patron noticed its predicament in early December.

Carefully selected volunteers and county staff have tried numerous times to capture the goose. The Humane Society and specialists from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have also tried to nab it.

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On Tuesday the county Department of Animal Care and Control was called in. Its officers routinely capture all sorts of animals — though they sometimes call other agencies for help.

They tried to lure the goose to shore with food and then cast a net. More than a dozen people were recruited to help. But it wasn’t enough.

They managed to get the goose to shore, but when they got about eight feet away, it flew off.

Even though the professionals have been stymied, they don’t want outside help, said Andrew Hughan, the state’s Fish and Wildlife spokesman. He was horrified when he saw video of a woman who fed the goose out of her hand and then tried to grab it.

Such untrained efforts could harm the animal. And people are not supposed to feed the wild animals.

It’s also illegal to shoot them — with an arrow or anything else — in a county park or within city limits. Tipsters who’d like to cook the perpetrator’s goose can call (888) 334-2258.

howard.blume@latimes.com

@howardblume

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UPDATES:

4:50 p.m.: This story was updated to clarify that the Department of Animal Care and Control does not necessarily capture all kinds of wild animals. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, and some cases are referred to other agencies.

This article was originally published at 4:05 p.m.


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